RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil – The flight recorder transcript from the executive jet involved in Brazil's worst air disaster shows that the jet's American pilots were told by Brazilian air traffic control to fly at the same altitude as a Boeing 737 before the planes collided over the Amazon rainforest, the Folha de S. Paulo newspaper reported Thursday.
According to Folha, the flight recorder shows American pilot Joseph Lepore receiving instructions from the tower in Sao Jose dos Campos to fly northwest at 37,000 feet "until Eduardo Gomes," the airport in Manaus. That altitude contradicted the pilots' filed flight plan and as an odd-numbered altitude should be reserved for southbound flights.
Folha did not reveal how it had obtained the transcript, which the air force has not yet released to federal police investigating the Sept. 29 crash. All 154 people on board the Gol airline's 737 were killed. The badly damaged executive jet managed to land safely, and the American pilots have been ordered to stay in Brazil during the investigation.